Location: Halfway between San Jose del Cabo (Cabo San Lucas) and San Benedicto Island (Socorro), Islas Revillagigedos
Comments: We departed San Jose del Cabo (Cabo San Lucas) last night for FRANCE via San Benedicto Island (Socorro)!!! Yup, Clipperton Atoll is a French territory, and as far as the Mexican authorities are concerned, we are sailing to France. How cool is that?? I’ve been waiting a long time for this trip and am very excited to be sailing off to a very remote, deserted, coral atoll in the middle of nowhere.
Clipperton Island was named for the English pirate John Clipperton and was reportedly discovered by Magellan in the early 16th century. It has been home to pirates and castaways and variously occupied by American guano miners, Mexican troops and their families, and was even a secret U.S. military base during World War II (known as Island X). The King of Italy awarded sovereignty of Clipperton to France shortly before WWII after more than 20 years of “deliberation.”
Various scientific expeditions, as well as Jacques Cousteau, have visited the island and filmed their various exploits. Our trip is the first time that scuba divers on a commercial expedition have ever visited the Clipperton. We owe a big merci beaucoup to the French authorities in Tahiti for issuing us the appropriate permission, but I’m feeling a tad apprehensive after reading the verbiage on the permit: “I attract equally your attention on the inherent dangers to the projected activities owing to the isolation of this atoll making extremely difficult all assistance in case of incident or of likely accident to produce itself in the renowned coastal zone for his dangerous approach and the presence many sharks and murènes of which the aggressive behavior often was observed.” Hmmm, should be an interesting trip!! I can’t wait.
Weather: High overcast, 8 foot swell from the northwest on our starboard quarter, 14 second interval, wind 10 knots, air temperature 79°F. Easy motion on the Nautilus Explorer given the very long wavelength of the swell.
Water: Water temperature and visibility unknown.